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Kosovo: Letter dated 2 Oct 2008 from the UN SG to the President of the UN SC - Monthly report on KFOR operations (S/2008/638)

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Pursuant to Security Council resolution 1244 (1999), I have the honour to transmit the attached report on the international security presence in Kosovo covering the period from 1 to 31 July 2008 (see annex).

I should be grateful if you would bring it to the attention of the members of the Security Council.

(Signed) Ban Ki-moon

Annex

Monthly report to the United Nations on the operations of the Kosovo Force

1. This report covers the period from 1 to 31 July 2008.

2. As at 31 July 2008, the total number of troops in theatre was 14,409. This includes 2,173 troops from countries that are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

3. There was no change to the status of NATO and non-NATO nation contributions during the reporting period.

Political situation

4. Representatives from 37 countries and 16 international organizations met in Brussels on 11 July 2008 for an international donors' conference led by the European Commission. The conference succeeded in obtaining pledges from participants totalling €1.2 billion.

5. Serbia's parliament approved a new Government, led by Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovi? and made up of a pro-European bloc and the Socialists. Ministers Jeremi? and Šutanovac remain at the head of their respective foreign affairs and defence ministries, while Goran Bogdanovi? became the new minister for Kosovo and Metohija.

6. On 21 July 2008, the Serbian Government announced the arrest in Belgrade of suspected war criminal and former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadži?, after more than a decade on the run.

Security situation

7. On 3 July 2008, an explosion occurred at the local market in Uroševac (Multinational Task Force East), likely from a handmade bomb.

8. On 4 July 2008, 20 Kosovo Serbs and 20 Kosovo Albanians demonstrated against a water-pipe installation project in Suvi Do (Multinational Task Force North). Three Kosovo Albanians were detained by the Kosovo Police Service. On 7 July, 20 Kosovo Serbs and 50 Kosovo Albanians gathered to protest against the water-pipe project. On 24 July, 50 Kosovo Serbs gathered to prevent work starting on the water-pipe project.

9. On 6 July 2008, an improvised explosive device pointing at a fuel tank was discovered in Vragolija (Multinational Task Force Centre). The device comprised a rocket launcher connected to a timer and did not work owing to battery failure. In Stimlje (Multinational Task Force East), a hand grenade exploded in front of a shop causing only minor material damage.

10. On 7 July 2008, around 200 Kosovo Albanians demonstrated against a toxic truck convoy at the Trepca factory in Mitrovica (Multinational Task Force North). There were 120 demonstrators the following day and 100 on 9 July. Also on 7 July, an altercation between Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians occurred near the "three towers" neighbourhood in Mitrovica. These incidents in Mitrovica ended peacefully, but the Kosovo Police Service closed the footbridge near the three towers for a short time.

11. On 9 July 2008, an explosive device was thrown at an Internet cafe in Gnijlane (Multinational Task Force East) causing only minor damage.

12. On 12 July 2008, a hand grenade exploded in the yard of a Kosovo Albanian in Zahac (Multinational Task Force West) causing only minor damage.

13. On 16 July 2008, in Suvi Do, a vehicle was stopped by the Kosovo Police Service on suspicion of fuel smuggling. The incident escalated when 20 Kosovo Albanians started to fight with the Police. The Police asked for reinforcement and the incident ended with two Police officers slightly injured.

14. On 20 July 2008, an explosion occurred at the local market in Lipljan (Multinational Task Force East). A KFOR explosive ordnance disposal team was called in to investigate. No injuries were reported.

15. On 21 July 2008, an explosion occurred in a discotheque in Kamenica (Multinational Task Force East). Two Kosovo Albanians were injured in the blast.

16. On 22, 23 and 24 July 2008, 50 Kosovo Albanians demonstrated against the toxic trucks in Mitrovica. Between 10 and 15 people were briefly detained for blocking the main supply road.

17. On 27 July 2008, an explosion occurred in front of a Kosovo Albanian house in Crnoljevo (Multinational Task Force Centre). The owner of the house was not injured in the incident.

18. On 28, 29, 30 and 31 July 2008, 50 Kosovo Albanians protested peacefully against the toxic trucks in Mitrovica.

19. On 31 July 2008, an explosion occurred in a fuel station in Malo Rudare (Multinational Task Force North). Only minor damage was reported.

20. During the reporting period, there were no significant acts of violence or threats against KFOR.

Organized crime and weapons

21. A total of 380 incidents were reported during the month of July, compared with 392 during the previous month. Out of the 380 incidents, 19 were related to drugs; 29 to counterfeit currency or documents; 11 to smuggling; 8 to explosions; 135 to miscellaneous criminal incidents; 98 to possession of illegal weapons; 22 to weapons and ammunition seizures; and 58 to unexploded ordnance. The total number of reported incidents has decreased slightly for the fourth consecutive month. However, the amount of illegal weapons found within the area of responsibility remains high.

KFOR operations

22. The overall Multinational Task Force posture has not changed in July. KFOR units continued to focus on maintaining a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement throughout Kosovo, as well as on preventing non-compliant-group activities. Multinational Task Force North was reinforced by four to five additional companies and Multinational Task Force Centre by two companies. KFOR conducted different exercises to validate the provision of short-notice reinforcements between the different Multinational Task Forces.

Compliance with the Statement of Principles of the Commander of the Kosovo Force and regulation 1999/8 of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo

23. The disciplinary board met once in July to study cases of unauthorized absence shorter than seven days and one case of misuse of drugs. These cases were not considered major acts of non-compliance.

Kosovo Protection Corps

24. The current active personnel establishment of the Kosovo Protection Corps is 2,865. There are 175 active ethnic minority members (6.1 per cent of the total force), including 155 men and 20 women. There are still 130 vacant minority posts to be filled on the active personnel establishment list. The reserve personnel establishment list remains unchanged compared with the previous month.

25. The Kosovo Protection Corps training mainly focused on train-the-trainer activities to enhance both the Corps and the civilian authorities' knowledge of emergency management. These activities include basic English and computer training. The institutional training of the Corps closed down during the summer holiday. The Corps managed 16 different cases, including humanitarian projects, Kosovo-wide.

26. During the month of July, 6 ceremonies involving 51 members of the Kosovo Protection Corps took place. No incidents were reported.

27. The start of the recruitment process for a Kosovo Security Force in July affected the morale of members of the Kosovo Protection Corps who remain uncertain as to their future, in particular those who will not be selected to join a Kosovo Security Force. On 10 July 2008, at a meeting between the Commander of KFOR and the Commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps, the latter stated that the activities of the Corps were continuing as normal. The Corps needs to be reassured about the dissolution process and the resettlement programme.

Conclusion

28. The security situation remained calm during the month of July 2008. There were no significant threats against KFOR and the overall Multinational Task Force posture has not changed. KFOR continues to stand ready to deal with unrest or violence, regardless of where it comes from.